Cooking, Baking & Cocktail Shaking

One Pot Cheesy Salsa & Chicken Pasta

I’m participating in the Run for your Lives Zombie 5k in October and started training for it on Sunday. I thought I was going to die on Sunday after my 2 1/2 mile walk/run. This body isn’t familiar with the word exercise, and it totally took a beating on Sunday. My face was red, I was out of breath, my feet and legs were throbbing, and I felt a little nauseous. Not good. Not good at all. My brain was reprimanding me, “Why did you stop exercising? Look what it has caused you.” Stupid brain. I know! Hush, now!

After 3 days of running, I’m finally getting back into my groove. My running intervals are beginning to out weight my walking intervals, which I’m taking that as a good sign. I purchased myself a new pair of Brooks running shoes that were custom fit to my feet at Charm City Run. They actually watch you run and custom fit you with the proper shoes. How cool! I tend to fall heavy on my heal, so they fit me with a shoe to balance the way my feet hit the ground when I run. They’re bright, verging on neon, purple. At least I won’t get run over if I’m running in the dark.

I also needed some new running clothes, so I went out and purchased some brightly colored gear. Hey, I never pass an opportunity to shop. What can I say. This gal loves to shop. I even bought myself a Camelbak so I don’t have to run with my water in my hands. It’s super annoying to have to hold a heavy water bottle while you’re trying to focus on jogging (and for me, not falling over).

Whew, those are some brightly colored shoes. I’m also hoping to run off the seven consecutive days of ice cream . I may have over indulged a little a lot!

I decided to fill by body with some nutritional meals and snacks for a change. You know, fruits, veggies, whole grains. All of the things that my body isn’t used to. I’m hoping it won’t reject my new diet. Fingers crossed!

I know what you’re thinking, “But Jennie, what about all of the baked goods and yummies?” Don’t worry, I’m still going to be bringing you things like donuts and cupcakes. I would never be so cruel as to cut you off cold turkey. That’s just mean. Just because I’m running doesn’t mean I’m not going indulge in a piece of cake. Besides, isn’t there a rule that states exercising cancels out eating a piece of cake? You know, even Steven. The rule of physics or something? Either way, I like that rule, and I’m sticking with it. Point is, there will still be cake! Does that make you feel a wee bit better?

Today I made you a recipe inspired by Jessica at A Kitchen Addiction. She made a creamy salsa pasta that I tweaked to my taste. It’s delicious and good for you.

I used a double roasted salsa from Trader Joe’s in this dish. It added a nice smokey flavor to the pasta. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your area, feel free to use a fire roasted salsa.

I added lots of fresh veggies. The red pepper and corn added a touch of sweetness, while the jalapeño and green pepper added some spice.

I also added big chunks of cubed chicken breasts to the pasta. Here’s a handy little kitchen tip for the busy cook. Place a few chicken breasts in a crock pot and add a 1/2 cup of chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Cook on low for 5 hours. Cool the chicken. Either shred or cube the breasts. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. It speeds up the meal making process and creates an extremely tender piece of chicken.

This dish is full of healthy veggies, tender pieces of chicken, gooey cheddar cheese, and protein packed black beans. If you love a spicy dish, you’re going to love this meal.

Since this dish is healthy, I indulged in two helpings.



One Pot Cheesy Salsa & Chicken Pasta

1/2 lb penne pasta
2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1-12 oz. jar fire roasted salsa
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 cups shredded or cubed cooked chicken
1 cup corn
1-14 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tbs. light sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper

Cook pasta according to package instructions, reserving 1/2 a cup of the pasta water. Drain and cover until ready to use.

While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large sauté pan. Add the red pepper, green pepper, jalapeño, red onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté until onion is translucent. Add the salsa, chicken stock, chicken, corn, black beans, cumin, coriander, and cayenne pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes, long enough to heat the chicken and corn. Add the pasta water and stir to combine. If the sauce is too thick, feel free to add a touch more chicken stock to loosen the sauce. Add the sour cream and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Gently fold in the pasta and the cheese. Take off the heat and let stand for about 5 minutes to allow the pasta to soak up the sauce.



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19 Responses to “One Pot Cheesy Salsa & Chicken Pasta”

  1. #
    CCU — July 25, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Good on you my friend, keep up the training you will do wonderfully!
    And I am familiar with the exercise-eat rule ;)
    Thanks for sharing a wonderful dish!

    Choc Chip Uru


  2. #
    kita — July 25, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Love me a simple one pot meal – and this looks awesome!


  3. #
    Renee — July 25, 2012 at 7:50 am

    The pasta looks and sounds really yummy. I will have to try your chicken in the crock pot tip next time I need tender shredded chicken. Thanks for sharing it.


  4. #
    @bluenotebacker — July 25, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Looks delicious! Always looking for new ways to cook chicken and this one’s a winner! Thanks so much for sharing.


  5. #
    Jen @JuanitasCocina — July 25, 2012 at 9:24 am

    One pot. Delicious. AND spicy?

    Where do I sign up? (to eat, not to run…)


  6. #
    The Squishy Monster — July 25, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I’ve heard about that run…sounds like a lot of fun!

    Also, love this dish, can’t wait to try it out for dinner sometime ;)

    Twitter @aSquishyMonster


  7. #
    Susan — July 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I love throw together one pot meals! Good luck on your run! I’m totally not a runner (hubs is trying – and failing with me). However, I do know about the zombie run, it sounds like so much fun! We also have a similar running store here, they fit my over pronating feet with great sneakers, I love stores like that!


  8. #
    Jenn and Seth (@HomeSkilletCook) — July 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    i love that this is a one pot meal, sounds so delicious and spicy – YUM!


  9. #
    Baking Serendipity — July 25, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I love those bright shoes! And am ridiculously in need of a simple one pot meal. This one looks ah-mazing. Good luck running! I’m pretty certain new clothes always make me run faster :)


  10. #
    Kim @ Treats & Trinkets — July 26, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I love your purple shoes. And this pasta. When I was in college, I used to add salsa and canned tuna to my easy mac. This is like that, but all growned up and respectable. And the easy mac is like, “Duuuuuude, you’re totally like me.” And this pasta is all, “I say old chum, you and I are quite incompatible.” (And it’s British because that means it’s *classy*).

    Ahem. This would probably be awesome with whole wheat pasta, too.


  11. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — July 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    As Jessica said, your shoes are super cute! And this pasta – yum! Love that it’s chockfull of veggies!


  12. #
    cj — July 26, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    I love one pot meals and healthy food but hate exercising … I’ll cheer you on from the sidelines :)


  13. #
    Kim Bee — July 26, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    This looks really fabulous. I love a good pasta.


  14. #
    15 (@foodpornonline) — July 27, 2012 at 4:35 am

    I wonder why I could never succeed making this one pot cheesy salsa chicken pasta
    How did you do it? I’ll try again for sure and this time I’ll refer to your recipe as my guide :)
    Thanks also for the tempting food photos. Looks like they were made by professional. submit your food photos on a Food Photography site so the readers can enjoy your creations.
    Your pics should be on the Food Porn home page, that’s for sure!


  15. #
    Katie — July 28, 2012 at 10:28 am

    As much as I don’t like zombies, the zombie runs amuse me greatly.

    I make chicken like that in the crock pot all the time now. I even do whole roasters.


  16. #
    Lauren @ Part Time House Wife — July 29, 2012 at 7:17 am

    MMmmmmmmmmm…. I want this now!


  17. #
    Shut Up & Cook — July 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Love nothing more than easy, delicious, and satisfying food. This looks like a great dish to put in that category!


  18. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — July 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Pasta looks wonderful! Good for you for getting back into running! I haven’t run in about a month, and I am mad at myself every day for it. The summer with my son home is just so hard!! I need school to start so I can do it again!


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